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Quikrete continues expansion into 3D printing with housing demos

On the heels of a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to design next-generation concrete mixes ideal for printable construction of large-scale structures or components, Atlanta-based Quikrete Companies is branching out further into the 3D-printing process with its latest partnership.

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The Contour Craft’s maximum construction height is 6 meters, which equates to a two-story house.

The producer and California-based Contour Crafting Corp. have entered into a collaboration to develop proprietary concrete used in the automated construction of residential, commercial, industrial and government structures using the latter’s technology. Following comprehensive testing at an independent accredited lab at the University of Southern California to confirm ICC-ES AC509 compliance—a building code spearheaded by CC Corp.—the 3D-printing process will be used to construct four low-income housing units as part of a demonstration project sponsored by the Los Angeles County Development Authority.

The innovative build will showcase the potential of the technology in achieving low-cost, sustainable construction to address the homelessness problem in Los Angeles and worldwide. Unlike other mortar-based 3D-printable products, the advanced concrete mix produced byQuikrete is formulated to include coarse aggregate specifically for use with CC Corp.’s proprietary 3D printing system. The first true 3D-printing concrete makes building high-quality customized structures fast, efficient and affordable.

“Quikrete appreciates the practical approach taken by Contour Crafting to address real-life issues that we can anticipate as we implement this game-changing, concrete-printing technology,” says Quikrete Chief Technology Officer Chuck Cornman. “The material properties needed for 3D concrete printing are closely aligned with Quikrete’s core technologies in rheological tuning, hydration and set time control, and managing dimensional stability.”

“The collaboration arrangement with Quikrete aspires to create useful construction technologies that offer structurally and economically viable solutions that perform at least as well as the conventional concrete construction practices,” adds CC Corp. CEO Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis.

The new concrete under development by Quikrete addresses key requirements for printability and constructability, including shape-holding thixotropic properties as well as rapid setting and dimensional stability features. With the initial goal of providing low-income housing and homes for disaster relief, a 2,000-sq.-ft. house can potentially be built in few days, not weeks, for a fraction of the cost of traditional construction. This is accomplished by dispensing the Quikrete concrete in layers using CC Corp.’s 3D-printing technology according to digital architectural models.